It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 152, 12 August 1991



BALTIC STATES



POPULAR FRONT, DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA MEET IN TALLINN. Leaders of
the Estonian Popular Front and Democratic Russia discussed the
post-Union treaty future at an August 10 meeting in Tallinn,
Radio Rossii reported the next day. The PF and Democratic Russia
discussed guaranteeing the rights of national minorities in both
republics, and noted that Russia's signing the Union treaty would
create a new legal basis for Estonian-RSFSR relations. Representatives
of the two grassroots movements last met in June, when they called
on the RSFSR to quickly ratify the political and economic agreement
signed with Estonia last January. (Riina Kionka)

LITHUANIA SETS UP "WEAPONS FUND". The Lithuanian government announced
the creation of a "weapons fund" on August 8, Radio Independent
Lithuania reported August 9. According to a government statement,
Lithuanians were asked to turn in weapons, ammunition, and explosives,
which will be used "to strengthen the security of borders, customs
posts, and important government buildings." The fund will also
accept monetary donations for the purchase of weapons. The decision
to stockpile weapons seemed to indicate a change in Lithuanian
strategy, which had previously emphasized peaceful resistance
methods. (Gytis Liulevicius)

THREE-DAY PROTEST AGAINST OMON. Thousands of Lithuanians spent
the weekend protesting outside the Vilnius OMON headquarters,
demanding its withdrawal, Radio Independent Lithuania reported
August 11. Sajudis organized the three-day demonstration, which
began on August 9. Crowd estimates ranged from one to five thousand
throughout the weekend. No incidents were reported, although
the OMON attempted to drown out the rally by playing the USSR
national anthem and military music through loudspeakers. The
demonstrators also marched to a Soviet army building and the
local KGB headquarters. (Gytis Liulevicius)

APPEAL TO LITHUANIANS IN SOVIET ARMY. On August 9 Chairman of
the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis issued an
appeal to Lithuanians serving in the Soviet army, Radio Independent
Lithuania reported that day. Landsbergis called on the soldiers
not to take part in any punitive actions against anyone in the
USSR, reminding them of the killings in Vilnius and Medininkai
earlier this year. The appeal ended with the words: "Cast aside
the service, which is not obligatory for you, and return to just
work and stand in defense of Lithuania." (Saulius Girnius)

SHORTAGE OF COINS IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on August 8
that there is a shortage of small change in Latvia. The problem
has arisen on account of a reduction by 50% of coins that are
distributed by Moscow to the republican banks. (Dzintra Bungs)


TWO LAWS ADOPTED BY THE LATVIAN SUPREME COUNCIL. According to
Diena and Radio Riga of August 8, the Latvian legislators adopted
two new laws. The law on environmental protection sets forth
the guiding principles and will eventually be amplified by some
specific laws, such as those regulating fines for misdeeds. The
law on cooperatives, which was also adopted, was necessitated
by the fact that the recently adopted law on enterprises did
not specifically deal with cooperatives. (Dzintra Bungs)



USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS



YAKOVLEV INTERVIEWED BY VESTI. "Nothing imaginable could be worse
than Bolshevism except Bolshevism," said Aleksandr Yakovlev in
an exclusive interview published in Vesti August 8. Yakovlev
was interviewed in his new office in the Moscow City Soviet with
his Kremlin phone line cut off, but he said his relations with
Gorbachev remain "normal"--the two disagree only on the CPSU's
potential for reform. Yakovlev said that he will quit the CPSU
if the Movement for Democratic Reforms, of which he is co-founder,
is transformed into a political party at its next congress. He
no longer considers it a problem to leave the CPSU. (Julia Wishnevsky)


MDR CONDEMNS HARASSMENT OF "DEMOCRATIC CONMMUNISTS". The Movement
for Democratic Reforms has condemned the expulsion of two leaders
of the Democratic Party of Russian Communists, Aleksandr Rutskoi
and Vasilii Lipitsky, from the CPSU, according to an August 9
TSN report, quoting Izvestia. "While paying the lip service to
cooperation, consensus, consolidation and dialogue," the MDR
says, "the leadership of the Russian Communist Party behaves
in the old Stalinist way, in the traditions of the worst times
of the past." The previous day, MDR co-founder Aleksandr Yakovlev
told an interviewer on the RSFSR TV newscast Vesti that the expulsion
of RSFSR Vice-President Rutskoi is a declaration of "war against
the Russian people." (Julia Wishnevsky)

GRAIN PROCUREMENTS LAGGING. The Chairman of the USSR State Committee
for the Procurement of Food Resources, Mikhail Timoshishin, told
Pravda August 9 that, with the grain harvest half completed,
farms have sold the state only about one-quarter of the grain
planned. It is the withholding of agricultural produce that represents
the gravest threat to food distribution and urban supplies under
present circumstances. Farms are protesting adverse terms of
trade, whereby the procurement prices they receive for state
deliveries have risen appreciably less than the prices of producer
goods that they must buy from industry. And, despite colorful
lures of imported and domestic consumer and producer goods on
offer to farms that fulfill and overfulfill their procurement
quotas, farms are refusing to take rubles for their produce.
(Keith Bush)

CATASTROPHIC SITUATION IN CONSTRUCTION SECTOR. August 11 was
"Construction Day" in the Soviet Union. According to a Radio
Moscow report of August 11, data recently released by Goskomstat
indicate that this is one of the most poorly functioning sectors
of the Soviet economy. In the first half of 1991, only three
out of 331 facilities scheduled to be brought on line for this
year were completed. Housing construction is off by 21 percent
from the mid-year figure for last year. The sector is suffering
from a chronic shortage of supplies, with little relief in sight.
(John Tedstrom)

GERASHCHENKO ON INFLATION. In an interview with The Financial
Times on August 9, the chairman of the USSR Gosbank, Viktor Gerashchenko,
warned that he will start cutting off funds to spendthrift republican
banks after the first republics sign the Union Treaty (currently
scheduled to for August 20). He named the RSFSR central bank
as the main culprit, and charged that it declined all effective
cooperation with the USSR Gosbank. Gerashchenko estimated that
the USSR Gosbank will issue 80 billion rubles' worth of banknotes
in 1991, instead of the 35 billion rubles' worth planned. The
income of the population had risen by 71 percent during the first
half of the year. (Keith Bush)

GERASHCHENKO ON GOLD. In the same interview, Gerashchenko confirmed
that the USSR Gosbank's reserves of 374.56 tons of gold represented
only a small part of total Soviet gold reserves. He claimed that
he was pressuring the Soviet government to give up its secrecy
over the country's gold output, sales, and reserves, and suggested
that Soviet gold be used as collateral for making the ruble convertible.
Gerashchenko said he had suggested to the IMF and World Bank
that Western countries extend further credits to the USSR, but
maintained that the Soviet Union could honor its debt repayments--which
he estimated at $20 billion--"at least until December." (Keith
Bush)

GERASHCHENKO ON THE STATE OF THE SOVIET ECONOMY. In a pithy overview
of current problems, Gerashchenko asserted: pay was running way
ahead of productivity; taxation was too low; the budget deficit
was uncontrolled; the printing of money continued unabated; the
internal convertibility of the ruble--planned for January 1992--was
impossible; and government and presidential decrees and exhortations
had no effect. The Financial Times correspondents apparently
did not ask him, nor did he volunteer, an explanation of the
part that he and Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov had played in
fuelling inflation, nor did he refer to recent rumors concerning
the abolition of the USSR Gosbank. (Keith Bush)

REJOINDER ON TENGIZCHEVROIL. In a recent article in Moscow News,
that was reprinted in The Los Angeles Times of August 6 (see
The RFE/RL Daily Report of August 7), former Soviet Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze offered a vigorous defense of the Soviet-Kazakh-US
joint project to develop the Tengiz oil field. Infonovosti of
August 8 has carried the Moscow News rejoinder. This maintains
that the Tengiz field is the USSR's only untapped oil and gas
deposit of world significance. It reiterates that the deal is
extremely disadvantageous to the Soviet side: Chevron stands
to gain $100 billion in profits, while the Soviet Union will
get virtually nothing. (Keith Bush)

BAHAISM SPREADING IN THE SOVIET UNION. TASS reported on August
8 that a group of missionaries from California on a visit to
Birobidzhan are considering the prospects for setting up a Baha'i
community there. The Soviet Baha'i community now numbers about
1000 members [See RFE/RL Daily Report, No. 238, 1990.] (Oxana
Antic)

MORE ESTIMATES OF THE POVERTY LEVEL. In the absence of regular,
comprehensive and authoritative data on living standards from
the USSR Goskomstat, various agencies and media are offering
their calculations--notably on the quantification of the "poverty
level." APN of August 8 tries its hand. It contrasts the official
estimate that some 90 million Soviet citizens may fall below
the poverty line in 1991 with the trade unions' projection of
one half of the population. In April, the trade unions set 270
rubles a month as the subsistence minimum, while Commersant is
cited as giving 3,000 rubles a month as the income needed to
attain a Western level of subsistence minimum. (Keith Bush)

WHICH ORGANIZATIONS DO SOVIET CITIZENS TRUST? A poll taken by
the Center for Public Opinion research asked Soviet citizens,
"Which of the following Party, alternative movements, state,
and religious organizations do you trust?" The results, published
in Moskovskie novosti August 8, indicate: 18% chose the nationalist-patriotic
movement Pamyat'; 18% selected the Communist Party; while 59%
expressed trust in the army. The survey noted, however, that
the largest proportion of the population polled, some 630 respondents,
expressed faith in the Russian Orthodox Church. It is unclear
from the report whether additional organizations were included
in the survey. (Carla Thorson)


USSR--IN THE REPUBLICS


TIMETABLE FOR SIGNING UNION TREATY. RIA reported August 9 that
Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan are scheduled to sign the Union treaty
on September 20, and Azerbaijan and Ukraine are tentatively scheduled
to sign it on October 10. On August 11 Moscow radio cited Kazakh
president Nursultan Nazarbaev as saying that Belorussia and Tajikistan
will join the RSFSR, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan in signing the
treaty on August 20. It was earlier reported that the two republics
would sign in on September 3. (Ann Sheehy)

SHAKHRAI ON UNION TREATY. In an interview on Russian television
on August 10, Sergei Shakhrai, chairman of the RSFSR Supreme
Soviet's Committee on Legislation and adviser to Yeltsin on legal
questions, repeated the warning to Yeltsin that he should either
call an urgent session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet to approve
the latest draft of the Union treaty or postpone signing it.
Shakhrai maintained that a number of articles of the treaty could
be interpreted in such a way as to be unacceptable to the RSFSR
in that they would lead to the destruction of its statehood.
Shakhrai suggested that the signing of the treaty should be accompanied
by a declaration by the President of the RSFSR and its constituent
republics that they are not aiming at the disintegration of the
RSFSR. (Ann Sheehy)

DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA ON UNION TREATY. The Coordination Council of
the "Democratic Russia" movement has sent a letter to Yeltsin
expressing a number of reservations about the Union treaty, Radio
Rossii reported August 9. In particular, they suggest that the
functioning of the treaty should be limited to one year. (Ann
Sheehy)

DID YELTSIN DO A DEAL WITH GORBACHEV OVER THE UNION TREATY? In
an interview published in Rossiiskie vesti of August 10, Evgenii
Ambartsumov, deputy chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Committee
for International Affairs and Foreign Economic Ties, said that
a large degree of dissatisfaction with the text of the draft
treaty remained. Ambartsumov said that it seemed to him that
Yeltsin had agreed to sign the treaty with all its shortcomings
in exchange for Gorbachev giving silent assent to Yeltsin's decree
on departization. (Ann Sheehy)

UKRAINIAN PREMIER ON DRAFT UNION TREATY. At a press conference
in Kiev on August 9, Ukrainian premier Vitol'd Fokin said that
the latest draft of the Union treaty showed a clear desire on
the part of the center to defend old formulations, Ukrinform-TASS
reported August 9. Fokin complained that under the draft about
45 percent of Ukraine's industrial potential would remain under
centralized management, and that the center wanted to retain
control of road, sea, and air transport. He also disagreed with
the proposed retention of a single financial, credit, and insurance
policy. (Ann Sheehy)

STRUCTURE OF USSR STATE COMMITTEE FOR NATIONALITY QUESTIONS RATIFIED.
The USSR Cabinet of Ministers has ratified the structure of the
central apparat of the USSR State Committee for Nationality Questions,
Moscow radio reported August 9, citing RIA. The committee was
set up more than a year ago, but has not yet started to work.
(Ann Sheehy)

YELTSIN ON NEW POWER STRUCTURES. Vesti reported on August 10
that RSFSR president Boris Yeltsin will soon sign a decree establishing
presidential administrations in all oblasts and raions of Russia,
including autonomous republics. The heads of the administrations
will be elected next fall; in the meantime, Yeltsin will send
personal envoys to the periphery to watch over the implementation
of his decrees. In a meeting with the independent Trade Unions
of Russia, broadcast by Radio Rossii on August 10, Yeltsin said
that his newly created State Council will consist of 15 people--half
of them heads of the most important republican ministries, the
rest state councillors. Yeltsin said that the RSFSR Security
Council will maintain ties with the USSR KGB and MVD and with
the Soviet army. (Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN'S DECREE IMPLEMENTED. At his meeting with the trade unionists,
Yeltsin also said that the signing of the Union Treaty will mark
the end of the all-Union institutions' power. The tasks of the
center will be restricted to defense, border security and railway
transportation. Meanwhile, Yeltsin's decree on depolitization
is being implemented throughout Russia. CP committees in all
military institutions in Nizhnii Novgorod have been closed down,
Radio Mayak reported on August 11. In Moscow, a city commission
for depolitization has been set up under the chairmanship of
USSR deputy Arkadii Murashov, Radio Rossii reported on August
10. (Alexander Rahr)

RSFSR SUPREME JUDGES QUIT THE CPSU. On August 5, the judges of
the RSFSR Supreme Court held their last Party meeting, Izvestia
reported August 6. The meeting was devoted to Yeltsin's edict
banning organized political activity from work places. The judges
decided not merely to remove their primary Party cell from the
Court premises, as the RSFSR President had decreed, but also
to suspend their membership in the CPSU as long as they are members
of the Court. This move is to prevent interference by CPSU officials.
The RSFSR justices cited the decision of the members of the USSR
Committee for Constitutional Compliance, "who suspended their
membership in the CPSU long ago despite the lack of any direct
order [from President Gorbachev]." (Julia Wishnevsky)

SOVIET GERMAN CONGRESS SET FOR OCTOBER. The long-delayed officially-sponsored
congress of Soviet Germans will take place from October 18-20,
Neues Leben reported August 7. The congress had originally been
planned for March, but was cancelled at the last minute. The
reason given was the referendum on the future of the Soviet Union,
but the real grounds seem to have been dissension among the Soviet
Germans; the more militant members of the Soviet German "Rebirth"
association were sticking out for the restoration of the Volga
German republic while the authorities wanted the Soviet Germans
to settle, at least temporarily, for extra-territorial autonomy.
Since then, a German national raion has been established in the
Altai, and the chances for the restoration of some form of autonomy
for the Germans on the Volga seem to have improved marginally.
(Ann Sheehy)

GEORGIA PASSES PRIVATIZATION LAW. Georgia passed a law on privatization
August 9, according to a TASS report the same day. Although details
on the new law are not available, it concerns only state enterprises
and organizations. Legislation covering land and housing will
be passed separately. The first private enterprise in Georgia
is expected to begin operations October 1. (John Tedstrom)

HAIRIKYAN REGISTERS AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. TASS reported
August 11 that former Armenian dissident Paruir Hairikyan has
been nominated by the Council for National Self-Determination
as a candidate for the Armenian presidential election on October
16. The CNSD advocates Armenia's immediate secession from the
USSR. Hairikyan was stripped of his Soviet citizenship and expelled
from the USSR in the summer of 1988; he returned to Armenia,
where he is a member of the Supreme Soviet, in November, 1990.
(Liz Fuller)

TURKISH CONSULATE OPENS IN BAKU. RL's Azerbaijan BD was informed
August 9 that a Turkish consulate had opened in Baku on the basis
of an agreement signed when Turkish president Turgut Ozal visited
Azerbaijan in March of this year. (Liz Fuller)

JOINT VENTURES IN TAJIKISTAN. Two joint ventures with American
firms are now functioning in Tajikistan, according to a TASS
report of August 8. One manufactures leather and fur goods for
the local market, while the second is organizing the manufacture
of clothing from raw material to finished goods. The firm has
already obtained land on which to raise long-staple cotton. Its
plans to open processing and sewing plants promise employment
to villagers, who represent the largest pool of unemployed in
the republic. (Bess Brown)

TAJIKISTAN TAKES STEPS TO CONTROL CROSS-BORDER TRADE. Unregulated
barter trade has resulted in large quantities of fruit and vegetables
flowing out of Tajikistan in recent weeks. TASS reported on August
9 that one of the new restrictions promulgated by the republican
Cabinet of Ministers to limit this trade forbids cross-border
barter trade unless the Tajik party receives goods that are in
extremely short supply in Tajikistan. The measures should not
inhibit Tajik traders from fulfilling all-Union and bilateral
trade agreements. Non-state traders (cooperatives, and private
persons, for example) will be assessed a 30-40 percent export
tax on the produce they ship out of the republic. (John Tedstrom)


TYPHUS OUTBREAK IN UZBEKISTAN. Dirty water is said to be the
cause of an outbreak of typhus in Uzbekistan's Kyzyltepa Raion,
according to TASS on August 8, quoting Izvestia. Around 100 people
had contracted the disease, which had already caused one death
at the time of the report. The outbreak of typhus is only one
of the health problems to result from the lack of clean drinking
water in Central Asia, where many villagers have no alternative
to getting water from ditches and canals. (Bess Brown)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS PRO-INDEPENDENCE STAND. In a speech
broadcast August 9 on Radio Kishinev, Moldavian president Mircea
Snegur dismissed as "fabrications" and "provocations" recent
claims of Soviet media and the Moldavian Popular Front that the
Moldavian leadership leans toward signing the Union treaty. Accusing
Moscow and the Moldavian CP of "pressuring Moldavia" and "bombarding
us with demands in connection with the Union treaty," Snegur
said that "the idea of independence has seized the widest masses
of the people." He said that he "wanted to renew assurances that
the Moldavian leadership will remain faithful to the ideals of
full sovereignty and independence until the very end and has
no intention to deviate from this position." (Vladimir Socor)


MOLDAVIA ABOLISHING SOVIET-TYPE LOCAL ADMINISTRATION. In the
same speech, delivered to a republican conference of administrative
officials, Snegur outlined the mechanism for the transition from
the administrative system based on soviets to one of local self-government.
Under the law adopted by the Moldavian parliament on July 10,
Moldavia's 40 rural and 10 urban raions are to be replaced by
January 1992 by up to 10 counties and several municipalities
with extensive executive powers to be devolved on them by the
republican government. The communist-controlled soviets in areas
with non-native population resist the reform on the ground that
it "dismantles Soviet power." (Vladimir Socor)


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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